Scada Review 2014: Schneider Electric

June 2014 SCADA/HMI

End-user details

Name: Details withheld at reviewer request

SI details

Name: Kalpesh Lalloo

Designation: Project Engineer

Company: Schneider Electric

Phone: +27 (0)11 254 6400


Product details

Product names and versions: CitectSCADA v7.3 SP1

Vendor: Schneider Electric

Phone: +27 (0)11 254 6400



Application details

Location: Karoo, Northern Cape, South Africa

Industry: Science and technology

Project start date: 2012-07

Project end date: 2014-06

Application: Monitoring of MeerKAT/SKA radio telescopes’ support infrastructure

Server OS: Windows Server R2

Client OS: Windows 7

Application statistics

Tag count: 5191

Updates per day: Approximately 1 000 000

Disk space for one day’s updates: <10 MB

Physical I/O count: 0. The system does not interface to PLCs. Interfacing is to equipment via gateways

Front ends:

28 * Power meters [Schneider Electric: PM3255]

15 * Power meters [Schneider Electric: PM870]

1 * Voltage regulator [Cooper Power System: CL-6 series]

5 * HVAC units [Emerson: Liebert HPM]

1 * Fire Control System [Bosch: FPA-1200]

3 * Rotary UPS [Euro Diesel]

1 * Auto-recloser [Schneider Electric: Nulec N-series]

1 * Generator [Landford]


2 * Citect Full Server 15 000 point count

3 * Citect Control Client 15 000 point count

1 * Citect Web Control Client 15 000 point count

9 * Citect Web View Only Client 15 000 point count

9 * Citect Web View Only Client 15 000 point count redundancy licences

1 * Citect Historian Server 1500 point count

1 * Citect Historian Client

1 * Citect Historian Client Access - Database Connector

Scada configuration man-hours: 150

System architecture.
System architecture.

End–user responses


Q: Briefly describe the application including information on any pre-existing control system.

MeerKAT is the supporting infrastructure for 64 new radio telescopes in the Karoo. The infrastructure comprises a specialised data centre, rotary UPSs, Eskom supplies, 22 kV reticulation system, environmental controls and building systems. A scada system was required to monitor the critical parameters of this infrastructure.

Q: What was the primary motivation for the project?

To monitor radio telescope infrastructure.

Q: What were the main goals established for the project?

* To implement a scada system to monitor and record critical infrastructure parameters.

* System accessibility from any point on the intranet and from the Internet (with special permissions).

* System ability to link to other non-scada technical systems of SKA via OPC over the intranet.

* Equipment compliance with specific RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) standards.

Q: In the procurement decision-making process what were the primary considerations that influenced the product selection?

In depth training, well-established support and well-designed products.

Q: What Project Management principles and/or methodologies did you employ as end-user to mitigate risk, ensuring the project came out on time and within budget?

External consulting engineers, Aurecon, was appointed to compile specifications and manage the project.

Licensing, maintenance & support

Q: How is after-sales support handled on this application?

First-line maintenance by end-user. Additional support by SI/vendor on end-user request.

Architecture, integration, reporting and archiving

Q: Is the scada system integrated onto an intranet or the Internet?

Full remote monitoring has been implemented over the intranet and Internet.

Q: Do you run the scada in conjunction with any other third-party application software?

The scada interfaces with an ION Enterprise energy management system via OPC and with other Linux-based technical systems of SKA.

Q: Does the application include data archiving / historian capabilities with an historical data reporting system?

A data historian has been implemented with the ability to store 1500 points for a 6-month period.

End-user conclusion

Q: What was the predominant feature (or features) that made you decide to purchase this scada product over all others for this application?

• Product maturity and infrastructure.

• Ease of integration with existing SKA equipment.

Q: What single operational feature most impresses you about the product now that it is in operation?

Full access via intranet.

Q: What impresses you most about the architecture?

Server redundancy that requires no additional engineering other than its correct configuration and activation.

SI Responses

Project details

Q: What tools were used to minimise the man-hours taken?

Schneider Electric’s in-house tools were used to auto-generate the complete scada tag configuration, including trends, alarms and interlocks.

Q: What human factors were taken into consideration as principles or development standards in the HMI design process?

Schneider Electric configuration standards for the HMI cover colour and symbol usage. These were negotiated with the customer and documented within the Functional Design Specification.

Q: For the graphics development process did you use standard library images, or did you have to draw images from scratch?

All images were drawn from scratch. Standard libraries could not be used, as the project required specific images to be drawn to scale.

Q: How would you describe the library of graphic images?


Q: Did you use any ‘special’ images?

All images were 3D images.

Q: What alarm management standards or best practices were adopted in configuring the scada system alarms?

Alarms were categorised as Warning Alarms requiring only operator acknowledgement and Urgent Alarms requiring operator intervention and acknowledgement.

Q: What structured processes were followed to determine expected performance under full load, and during abnormal failure conditions?

During commissioning, failures were simulated and results documented against pre-determined criteria. Exceptions were documented as non-conformances and actioned before final hand-over.

Q: What are the key physical communication layers and communication protocols employed in the system?

The scada system interfaces to a number of devices which use different communication protocols over Ethernet:

* Uninterrupted Power Supplies – Modnet over copper.

* Voltage regulator – DNP3 over copper and fibre.

* HVAC – BACnet over copper.

* Fire System – OPC over copper.

* Power Metering – Modnet over copper.

* Lighting – BACnet over copper.

* Auto-recloser – Modnet over copper.

* Temperature Sensors – SNMP over copper.

* Access Control – BACnet over copper.

Q: What is the network speed and communications medium of the slowest link in this project’s scada network?

100 Mbit/s over copper.

Q: What is the network speed and communications medium of the fastest link in this project’s scada network?

1 Gbit/s over fibre.

Q: What levels of redundancy are incorporated in this scada application?

Hot-standby Redundant IO, Alarm, Report and Trend servers have been implemented with full automated transparent switchover.

Q: What specific custom code or scada scripts were written for this project?

Scripting is implemented in the scada for multiple devices of the same type similar to an OO class and object model. This allows the use of only one page, one script for identical pieces of equipment, reducing engineering time and enhancing maintainability.

Project management

Q: What Project Management principles and/or methodologies did you as SI employ to mitigate risk and to ensure the project came out on time and within budget?

Schneider Electric’s Customer Project Process (CPP), a Project Lifecycle Management system, was used.

Security and data protection

Q: How have authentication, authorisation and role management been configured?

Authentication has been implemented using a Windows Active Directory domain (users and groups). Each domain group has been associated with internal Citect groups. Within the Citect environment role-based security is implemented, where roles are associated with specific areas. A scada user is unable to view information outside his area without explicit permission.

Q: Does the design make provision for a DMZ and firewall segregation of process (scada) network and business networks?

The solution is logically separated using VLANs.

Q: What configuration backup and data archive backup methodologies have been adopted?

Information unavailable.

SI conclusion

Q: What impresses you most about the architecture?


Q: What impresses you the most about the engineering / configuration aspects of the product now that it is in operation?

The engineering environment is open, enabling third-party tools such as MS Excel to be used for rapid application development. The Citect Graphics Builder allows an engineer to make changes to a library object and then quickly apply those changes to all instances of that object.

Q: How would you rate the ease of use of the historical reporting system?

Citect Trend data is easily exported to CSV formatted files and is readily accessible through the use of the Process Analyst tool.

Vendor responses


Q: Vendor comments on product / modules?

The CitectSCADA product is core to Schneider Electric’s automation architecture and is continually enhanced to support integration of Schneider Electric products such as the Webgate ActiveX for Magelis HMI integration and the Pelco ActiveX for Pelco CCTV integration.

Operating systems / VMware

Q: Vendor comments on operating systems?

Schneider Electric supports the latest Microsoft 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems.

Licensing, maintenance & support model

Q: What sort of licensing agreement options are offered?

There are three types of licence: Full Server, Client read-only and Client Read-write. There is no differentiation between modules and a single full licence enables all functionality. A full licence also acts as a client on the server hardware and the system can be operated from this server.

Q: Are licences sold outright or subject to periodic (e.g. annual) renewal?

Licences are once-off purchases.

Q: What upgrade agreements are offered?

Patches, hot-fixes and service packs are available to end-users with valid maintenance agreements. Version upgrades are available to end-users with valid maintenance agreements or for a once off fee.

Q: What after-sales offerings iro support and maintenance are available, and which technologies are used to deliver them?

Support is covered under a paid annual support agreement and includes “virtual engineer” desktop remoting, telephonic support, e-mail support, online self-help tools, automatic driver updates, product upgrades, on-site engineering under a service level agreement, security advisory services, user forum (LinkedIn group) and online knowledge base.

Q: Do you have a documented process in place to manage and test OS patches and to release scada system software patches?

We have a standard procedure based on hierarchies of workstations and criticality of patches that determines the order and speed with which patches are deployed.

Technology incorporated

Q: What changes have been introduced into the product in the last 12 months?

Improvements in engineering workflows, shorter configuration times, improved access, analysis and management of operational data, with quick and efficient responses to alarms and other information.

Integration and reporting

Q: What generic and/or product specific interfaces does the product have iro well-known MES packages?

An OLE-DB compliant interface, Citect integration API, OPC A&E server, OPC-DA server.

Q: What native historical data reporting options are available?

The application generates reports in either HTML or RTF files. The format of these files may be defined using any ASCII editor. The Process Analyst provides historical data analysis.

PLC configuration and programming

Q: What capabilities does the scada offer in terms of generation and/or management of PLC configuration files or PLC application code?

Citect enables the synchronisation and automatic creation of variable tags using a Unity application project file, CSV file or OPC server.

Security and data protection

Q: What authentication, authorisation & role management models are available for the runtime environment?

Security may be incorporated in the application or through Windows’ integrated authentication.

Unique selling proposition (USP)

Q: List the top five feature/benefit pairs that contribute to this product’s USP.

To view the unabridged version of this scada review, visit


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